Wine Reviews

Santa Lucia Highlands

California’s Overlooked Treasure: Santa Lucia Highlands

Photo by Frank Gutierrez, Wagner Family of Wine Right smack dab in the middle of the state of California sits the Santa Lucia Highlands in the massive Salinas valley—California’s prime agricultural region located 20 miles southeast of Monterey between the Gabilan and Santa Lucia mountain ranges. They grow everything there from lettuce to raspberries, and chances are your local grocery…

Opus One

Opus One: The Evolution of an Icon Pt. 2

When I told some friends I was going to visit Opus One on my birthday they scoffed. “Ooooh, GOD! They are sooo pretentious there!” they said. “Don’t forget to kiss the ring on the way in”. I brought my Mom and Mrs. B along for the ride because, hey, it was my birthday. Not sure what experience others had at…

opus one

Opus One: The Evolution of an Icon pt. 1

Twenty years ago if you were in a restaurant and ordered a bottle of Opus One you were important. You were a fine wine connoisseur and you liked the best. Opus One raised the bar for Napa Valley and for domestic wine. If you were drinking Opus One you were drinking a regal wine that presidents and diplomats held in…

Clerc-Milon

A Recap of Union Des Grand Crus de Bordeaux Tasting in SF

Last Friday’s annual Union Des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting took place in San Francisco showing off the Grand Cru Classe wines of Bordeaux’s 2010 vintage. Balzac Communications hosted the epic tasting where folks from the Chateaux in Bordeaux flew over with expensive bottles of world class wine can only happen once a year—within the first fifteen minutes you could…

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The Impact of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Transaction

Few people have impacted the wine industry in the last twenty years like wine critic, Robert Parker. His influence and palate helped create meta trends like the cult wine craze in the late 1990’s and a new style of wine affectionately referred to as “the Parker palate” where bigger, jammier wines are rewarded with high scores. Parker recently announced he would sell…

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The Winner of the Houston Rodeo Wine Competition Is…

After two days of blind tasting wines at the Houston Rodeo Wine Competition, the Grand Champion has been announced. I was invited to be one of about a hundred judges (including fellow sommelier friends Bill Elsey and June Rodil from Austin) tasked with judging assigned flights of wine served blind. This was my first year, but there are some judges…

wine critics

The Problem with Wine Scores

By no means am I covering new territory with this post, but hopefully can put a new spin on the subject. The debate about wine scores has been going on for years. They’re a necessity for wineries to sell wine in restaurants, in wine shops and through websites in an increasingly competitive market. Many wineries need them, yet others completely…

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3 Northwest Wineries to Discover

2010 was a classic vintage in Oregon and Washington. As the wines from the vintage start to enter the market, wine lovers might feel like a kid in a candy store with all the choices of what to buy. Here’s a few brands you may or may not have heard of, but are worth discovering. “2010 was the best vintage…

2010 oregon pinot noir

Cowboy or Hippie—Is the 2010 Oregon Pinot Noir Vintage the Best Ever?

photo courtesy of orwinetours.com The Willamette Valley might have its finest vintage in modern times with the 2010 Oregon Pinot Noir vintage. 1993 was awesome and helped put Oregon on the map with consumers. And from 1998 until 2002 Oregon Pinot Noir enjoyed a number of “good” vintages with approchable delicious pinot noirs that were both affordable, yet drinkable. Mother…

Does Steve Heimoff Hate Social Media?

On a recent July afternoon I sat down with Wine Enthusiast wine writer, Steve Heimoff to talk about social media. Over the past four years Mr. Heimoff has developed a bit of a reputation for debunking social media and its promise to sell more wine. It was time to debunk the debunkery and put the issue to rest. I asked Steve some…